Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article
Thursday 21 August 2014

Ben Watt @ Komedia Brighton: One-Time Everything But The Girl Founder Strikes Out On His Own

After twenty years in Everything But The Girl, and ten years as a respected DJ and record label boss of Buzzin' Fly, Ben Watt announced last year he was parking everything to complete two long-planned creative solo projects. 

The first - published by Bloomsbury - was his long-awaited second book, Romany and Tom, a dazzling portrait of his parents. 

The second is Hendra, his first solo album for over thirty years. It is, in Ben's words,'simply a folk-rock record in an electronic age.' 

"As the years went by, I felt like there was some unfinished business. 

"After I finished the book, I knew I needed to get some new stuff down. So I went downstairs, picked up a guitar for the first time in ages and played some chords… and it bored me."

"I started experimenting with open tunings, and that really inspired me,"

Recorded in London and Berlin, the music is a meeting of worlds: languid folk, distorted rock and fizzing electronics; in part a result of the album's two central collaborators, ex-Suede guitarist, Bernard Butler, and Berlin-based producer Ewan Pearson. 

The album also includes one other unexpected stellar cameo - Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, who adds plangent slide guitar and backing vocals on The Levels.

How does it feel following up a debut album thirty-one years later? 

"Sometimes I laugh and think it could be the definition of the difficult second album; it has certainly been a long time coming," Ben says

'Some might see it as a strange fork in the road after Buzzin' Fly, but everything for me has always been about finding a truthful and vivid point of connection with an audience - whether on dancefloors or in folk clubs. 

"Words, beats and notes - it's all we have. It's just a question of playing them in what feels like the right order at the right time, and at the moment, 'Hendra' just feels right.'

The Ben Watt Trio play Brighton Komedia on 5th November.

by: Mike Cobley


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